Cigar Ratings & Reviews

#NowSmoking: Kristoff Guardrail Matador

#NowSmoking: Kristoff Guardrail Cigar Review (Video)

Cigar Blend Details:

Factory: Tabacalera von Eicken – Santiago, Dominican Republic

Size: 6½”x 56 Double Toro
Body & Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Brazilian Arapiraca
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican, African Zimbabwe

Presented in boxes of 20

The Kristoff Guardrail Matador Cigar Back Story

Kristoff Guardrail cigars are a regular production line whose name refers to a nasty motorcycle accident Kristoff Cigars founder, Glen Case, kept under wraps until the line was unveiled this past summer. During a ride in Oklahoma, Glen’s back tire slid out and both he and the bike hit the guardrail at 65 mph. After eight days in the hospital followed by months of extensive physical therapy Glen recovered and his mojo returned. Guardrail’s intentionally gritty silver & black cigar band displays a motorcycle steering wheel, which may give observers some idea of the ordeal that Glen turned into inspiration for the three cigar line. Depending on how you remove the band, if you turn it over, on the left side you may be able to see the guardian angels Glen said were looking after him at the time of the accident.

Cigar Basics

At 6½”x56, the dark Kristoff Guardrail Matador makes a formidable impression. It’s very well rolled and the Arapiraca wrapper has a slightly rustic and bumpy appearance. Some veins are visible, but the wrapper is even in color and finished with a pigtail cap—a Kristoff trademark—and a closed foot. The wrapper offers a strong smell of sweet hay, and instead of using a cutter I twisted the cap off which provided a very good draw and a sweet tobacco taste.

Kristoff Guardrail Matador Cigar Review

Once lit, the opening puffs offered black pepper, sweet tobacco, and some nutty notes. Clouds of ambient smoke ensued. As the pepper faded, a creamy, medium-bodied, and sweet caramel-like smoke was revealed defining the first section. Inching closer to the midsection a slight accent of charred cedar arrived with some earthy spice. I also began to notice that this cigar was a slow burner.

Incredibly, it took me over an hour just to get to the mid-section. Still medium-bodied, the smoke remained fairly sweet as notes of nutmeg and hazelnut coffee began to arrive. Accents of cedar and baking spices mingled with a sweet aroma. This was also where the cigar offered more complexity.

The final inches revealed an unusual taste of smoky tart cherry. Earthy notes followed, but the sweet tobacco notes survived, and the cigar ended well with a medium-plus body and medium strength.

Are Kristoff Guardrail Cigars Worth Buying?

Let me make the case—no pun intended. For one, both of my Guardrail Matador samples were unexpectedly sweet. They also smoked for two full hours, which you don’t get very often. So, make sure you carve out at least that amount of time before you light up. Between the wrapper and the fillers, I assume sweeter tobaccos were used, but I do believe they were well aged, and that African Zimbabwe filler had to play a significant part. All the flavors were well-balanced, the smoke was fragrant, and because I’m not a regular Kristoff cigar smoker the Matador turned out to be one of the nicer surprises for me. I would buy another. And considering the length of the smoke, the medium body, and the mix of sweet and spicy flavors, the Kristoff Guardrail Matador is money well spent.